The councils of Lancashire are considering the benefits of combining under a single authority to obtain new powers devolved from central government. This has been done in Greater Manchester who have agreed to have an elected Mayor. Other cities and areas are looking at taking it on board.
The 15 councils are Lancashire, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Rossendale, Lancaster, Blackpool, West Lancashire, South Ribble, Chorley, Ribble Valley, Wyre and Fylde. They will each vote on whether to take it forward. So far 5 councils have agreed and one rejected.
Wyre has voted against as they say no benefits have been identified. They also claim the government is insistent on an elected Mayor but other councils are ignoring this believing it can be achieved using ‘co-opted members and chairman’.
It should be noted that Greater Manchester has used the co-opted committee system for a long time and have been told a Mayor is essential.
The co-opted system seems reasonable but the idea of the Mayor is to have elected power whereas the co-opted Chairman will not have any legitimacy electorally. A bit like the appointed European Commission.